I was pumped to be hiking the Mount Vernon Trail today for a variety of reasons. First, Maura was going to hike several hours with me in the morning. Shortly after that, my good friend Colleen was going to join me once again (she’d been with me a few days on the PHT back in 2020). Finally, I’d be staying in an old CCC cabin in Prince William Forest Park.
The day started out well. Yes, it was once again hot and humid. UGH. But I have just one more day of extremely hot weather – coupled with rain from Hurricane Ida – before things cool down a little. Maura and I had fun hiking and jabbering. It’s so fun to be with my daughter again!
Maura had to bail a little early, due to some hamstring issues, but that was fine. Soon Colleen arrived on her bike.
Heading to Mount Vernon
Colleen’s plan was to park at Mount Vernon, bike the 18 miles (29 km) to Alexandria, stopping to hang with me in the process, then do the same in reverse. So that’s what we did.
I was hoping to avoid changing clothes multiple times, but I did have to change around lunch time. This first section of the trail is more urban, and has a long stretch through Alexandria and its famous Old Town, which features gorgeous homes designed from centuries ago. It was nice to be along the Potomac River for so much of the day.
After noon the sky clouded over, which was a positive. But as the hours ticked by, it got increasingly humid. I had a heavy backpack today, since I’m staying in a cabin tonight and need extra gear. That got difficult to carry, due to the heat.
Colleen to the Rescue
Colleen met me about 1 mile (1.6 km) before Mount Vernon. She’d finished biking and moved her car up the trail. This allowed me to ditch my heavy pack and slackpack the rest of the way, which included another 4 miles (6.4 km) past Mount Vernon. That was mostly a road walk. And as it was rush hour then, it was unpleasant.
One sad thing: On this short stretch of road, I saw a dead fawn, raccoon and red fox.
We bought some groceries to have dinner together at the cabin, but it took us forever to find my cabin at Prince William Forest Park. It appears no one is in this huge park except me, and the cabins are not well marked at all.
It was getting dark out, and Colleen didn’t want to head for home (two hours away) in the dark. So we didn’t end up dining together. Instead, she unpacked things so I could shower, and then we parted ways. She’s such an amazing friend!
What Will Tomorrow Bring?
Tonight the rain from Hurricane Ida is arriving. Ed is supposed to fly in tomorrow around noon; who knows if his flight will be delayed due to the rain. I might try to reconfigure my plans. I’d thought I’d Uber to my starting point tomorrow, but now that I’m ensconced deep in this park, I can see I’d have to hike out several miles before any taxi will come get me.
Stay tuned! Hiking always involves pivoting.
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Today’s Miles: 22 (35.4 km)
PHT Miles to Date: 259.3 (417.3 km)
PHT Miles to Go: =490.7 (789.7 km)